I'm GovLooping - Are You?
The stats below who the significant efforts I've put into building connections and community at the site, the social network for Government 2.0 (recently updated as simply "social network for government").
23 Groups Joined
10 Discussions Started
25 Blog posts
280 Comments Made
152 My Comments
86 Forum Posts
Perhaps you take a look at this password-protected network with only 5,000 members (compared to 150 million for Facebook) and say, why, oh why, Adriel, are you wasting your time with this?
I am not a Moose. I am not an Elk. I don't belong to a fraternity, the Masons, or the Chamber of Commerce. I'm a twixer between generations X and Y, and I've got little kids who need me home at night. I serve on my condo board, and most of the little free time I have outside the home is spent working for my church.
If I want to network, I have to do it with quick e-mails, posts and text messages. I have to do it from my cell phone, on mass transit, on the run, and on the computer at home after the kids are in bed or during their weekend naps.
And yet, over the past few months, I've learned from folks what is and is not working in making government better for the people, and I'm finding support for tough problems in reframing government communications in a changing media environment.
I've met the creme de la creme of the innovative leaders in local, state and federal government. I met them first through GovLoop, and have enhanced the relationships through Twitter, phone and video calls and collaboration on projects like the official GovLoop t-shirt (with group founder ).
New members of GovLoop include California Secretary of State Bowen, Don Jacobson, Consul General at the American Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, , founder of Craigslist, and of O'Reilly Media (ed 2/1/09: confirmed). Active group participants include Jeffrey Levy, Director of Web Communications and National Web Content Manager, EPA (who spends free time on and writing incredible white papers with the Federal Web Manager's Council), who started his first blog on the site.
These are just a few of the super cool people working to bring the collaborative and transparent culture of Web 2.0 to government.
Why Isn't Skype the Most Popular Thing on the Planet?
Or maybe it's because we're in a major metro area that we don't have a need to communicate by video phone with our far-flung friends and families?
All my childhood, the Holy Grail of technology was the video phone. Now it's here and free, and hugely underused in the U.S.
I'd also like to see Skype or similar tech used to increase public participation in public meetings. By this I mean increasing the breath of people participating, getting soccer moms and Dow dads in on the action from home after the kids are abed. Participation in governance builds trust, and this tech is well-suited.
And is it really true that Skype has no marketing plan?
How Can Gov 2.0 Promote Local Economic Development?
I've very interested in your thoughts, from regulatory issues to customer growth, how can Government 2.0 help small and emerging businesses do better?
Locally, I'm working with social media friends to put on a . I'm also interested in mapping out free wi-fi in my community and promoting businesses that offer it.
I'm interested in how government economic development offices can help create collaborative resources similar to "Love Tacoma" and "Third Places" to attract and retain local businesspeople. Love Tacoma is a Tacoma, WA, project to create social networks for young people and promote local activities; Third Places is a project of Charlotte, NC, that provides information on informal business spaces such as independent coffee shops with wi-fi where freelancers can gather.
Twitter can sell authenticated accounts. No, I'm not talking about tiered accounts, I'm talking about someone actually verifying the identity of the person behind the account and putting a seal on the profile.
Have you ever been impersonated on Twitter? I know who have. How about your company? What if someone was out there pretending to be you, or worse, mocking you under your brand name?
I bet there are thousands of accounts that could be sold at $100 a year, without lawsuits over names that are already taken. You don't have to bump name squatters, you just don't validate those accounts. Word moves fast on Twitter, and it would all be sorted out in a jiffy.
And Twitter might make a few million bucks.
What do you think?
Six Stages of Chris Brogan
This is what I like to call the First Stage of Chris Brogan - IGNORANCE.
The next stage isn't very nice. That's where you discover that he is THE MAN on Twitter and in social media. And what do you want to do? Knock him down! (Perhaps this stage only applies to males.) This is where you make dumb jokes or say mean things about Chris Brogan. Second Stage of Chris Brogan - COMPETITION.
Then perhaps you reach the point where you have actually checked out his blog and realized he's the perfect guide to this strange new world you're now inhabiting. Maybe you've even subscribed or left a comment. Third Stage of Chris Brogan - AWE.
After learning some really cool things, you've got so wrapped up in the tools and culture you're in, that you almost forget about Chris Brogan. Fourth Stage of Chris Brogan - FORGETFULNESS
Then you get his blog again in your inbox, and you're like, "Wow, it's almost like Chris wrote this just for me!" And you're talking to and learning from Chris Brogan. Fifth Stage of Chris Brogan - LOVE
Sixth Stage - you tell me. I don't really know the guy that well, yet.
Get Your GovLoop On
Community Builder - GovLoop (11/25/08)
Templating a Government 2.0 Blog
So what makes a blog 2.0?
I would argue that it has to be interactive. It has to allow comments, and the author of the blog has to respond to and interact with the commenters. It should often link to other sources, promote the work of others, and have a collaborative instead of pedantic or hubristic tone. The author should also comment on others' blogs now and then.
After these essential elements, you have structural problems to address: how to handle commenting, how often to post, what other resources to include.
Commenting is easy. We've got a model from the President's transition site, Change.gov. In short: "stay focused, be respectful, tell the truth, no spam." Change.gov's policy also reserves the right to remove comments that violate the policy. Success in this area means clarity, and the gentle and consistent hand to steer comments back on track or to delete those that clearly cross the line.
How often to post is also easy. Three times a week, maybe a little more. If you don't have anything to say or you're going on vacation, perhaps you have a colleague who'd love to do a guest post.
More difficult is additional features. A schedule of events is good. Links to neighborhood or topical blogs. E-mail and RSS subscription options.
What else does a Gov 2.0 blog need?
LinkedIn (What is it Good For?)
I do have some of them in my networks, and I'm connected at the site directly to maybe a hundred people who I don't personally know. I use LinkedIn mostly as a way to have my , sort of as a soft lead source. I also try to help friends connect to friends of my friends on jobs, and I sometimes pass job leads directly through status updates. My understanding is this is the general way most people use the system.
I've also become a fairly active group user, linking to people with shared interests and participating on discussions about things like the best databases for performing background checks.
How to handle LIONs in groups seems to be a bit of a conundrum for LinkedIn and its users. I recently accepted an open invite to a leadership networking group, only to have the administrator complain to me privately and take down a introductory posting I put up. Seems that many of the groups are clogged with discussions based on open networks aggressively promoting themselves. How to deal with that, indeed.
And perhaps the most obnoxious (or simply clueless) thing I've seen in groups is people promoting their services within a group of people who all provide exactly the same services. That seems really counter productive.
My recommendation: if you've got an open membership group on LinkedIn and want to have some kind of rules, create a discussion about those rules and make sure that discussion stays near the top of the front page by frequently bumping it up. Have one thread for introductions, one thread for job leads, and stop it there. And if you don't do this, don't complain or don't have a group.
Do you use LinkedIn? Do you manage a group? What kind of problems have you seen, and are they addressed at all by my thoughts? If not, what would you do differently?
Someone actually randomly did a bot to . Someone's done "." Next one I want to see is "." Note that if the feed never interacts and people flag it as spam, Twitter may .